tv [untitled] CSPAN June 17, 2009 7:00am-7:30am EDT
is in session, prime minister gordon brown takes questions from the members of the house of commons. prior to question time, the house is wrapping up previous business. this is live coverage on c-span2. >> is my honorable friend aware of the alarming findings in today's newspaper in the low take-up of schemes to hurt homeowners in scotland are there ways of ensuring her constituents and my constituents can get the same benefits that other parts of the u.k. as well some >> i share my right honorable friends of them report in the herald where the agencies are helping across scotland said the conditions in the scheme were much more difficult for people who are in the most desperate need and facing repossession. i do not want to see homeowners
in scotland facing less protection than that already enjoyed in england and that is why i hope the scottish department will act very quickly on the recommendations made by the repossessions working group and provide advice who is facing court proceedings. >> allen whitehead. >> question number one, mr. speaker. >> mr. speaker, before listing my engagements this is your last prime ministers question. and the whole house will have a chance to knowledge your great contribution to public life in a few minutes time. this morning i have meetings with mine tearial colleagues and others in addition to my duties in this house i shall have further such meetings today. >> thank you, mr. speaker. may i add my appreciation of your kindness and generosity and everyone else and many other honorable members in your time as mer, mr. speaker. in view of recent speculation,
could the prime minister assure me that budgets relating to the support of groan energy development and combating climate change will be maintained and enhanced over the next three years and might he reflect on what would be the ability of the united kingdom to meet its carbon budget commitments if such funding were cut by, say, 10%? >> mr. speaker, we committed in the budget an additional $1.4 billion of support for the low carbon economy. that would not have been possible if we had followed the advice of the opposition party to cut by 5% this year. it would be impossible in the future if we went for plans that have been suggested by the shadow health secretary to cut departmental expenditure by 10%. mr. speaker, we are for investing in the environment, not for using the money for inheritance tax cuts for the very few.
>> thank you, mr. speaker. welcome to prime minister's planted questions. [laughter] >> some labour -- some labour mp's were a bit confused when they were told mr. 10% they thought it meant his opinion poll ratings. in our exchanges -- in our exchanges last week, the prime minister read out figures for total government spending after 2011. will the prime minister agree that using the treasury's own forecast for inflation, those figures means that spending will be cut in real terms? >> mr. speaker, i welcome this debate about public spending. i relish the chance to debate of
policy and the first thing he has to confirm that he is cutting spending this year. >> order. let the prime minister speak.úéñ that's the best way. i'm not responsible for his answers but just let him speak. the prime minister. >> mr. speaker, the first thing he is to confirm that he will cut spending by 5% this year. that means that vital services will be losing money so i welcome the debate that we're having in this country. we are investing to get ourselves out of the recession. they would cut and they would make the recession last longer. and they would lead to higher debt and higher deficits that have got to be spent for. as for spending beyond 2011. he knows the truth. he wants to spend less, 10% less than most departments. we want to spend more. >> absolutely, no answer to the question. and i have to say to the prime minister, for the time that
peter mandleson allows him to go on doing the job he should at least answer the question. every year at every budget he stod and read out figure after figure for total spending and told us it was an increase in real terms. now he's standing up there reading out figures for total spending without admitting they represent a real terms cut. the whole country will conclude that he's taken them for fools. everyone knows what matters is spending over and above inflation. so let me ask you again, will he now accept that his spending plans from 2011 mean a real terms cut? if he takes advice from the chancellor, the chancellor say they are a cut, do they? >> the first thing we're absolutely sure of is regardless of economic circumstances, regardless of ememployment, regardless of investment, regardless of inflation, they will be cutting expenditure by 10%. he said it last week himself. tory cuts versus labour
investment. now let me read the figures for current expenditure. it will grow in every your to 2013, '14, not just in cash terms but in real terms. capital expenditure will grow until the year of the olympics, after the year of the olympics, capital expenditure will be less but asset sales will make up for much of the difference. so we are increasing current expenditure and increasing capital expenditure up to the olympics. the unfortunate thing is, his proposal is to cut expenditure by 10%. he better now admit the truth he is cutting expenditure by 10%. >> it sounds more and more desperate. whichever way -- whichever way you look at the figures, the government cut plans to cut spending. let's look at capital and current spending. capital spending is going from $44 billion in '09, '10 to 22
billion to 2013. that is a massive cut. now let's look at current spending. you got to exclude -- you've got to exclude debt interest and paying for unemployment. that's what the prime minister used to call the bills of social failure. and when you do that current spending is being cut as well. so capital spending cut, current spending cut. those are labour cuts. let me ask the prime minister again, and this question will not go away until he answers it. will he admit -- i wouldn't listen to the honorable member from helen's south. he's pretty useless when he worked for us and he's pretty useless to us now. will he now accept his spending plans from 2011 mean a real terms cut? >> what he is saying to us and i just he better listen to this debate 'cause it's going to go on for many months. yes, exactly, exactly. what he is saying to us is regardless of growth, employment, interest rates or
inflation. he is dogmatically set on a 10% cut in most departmental expenditures. let me read the real term current expenditure. 603 to 299, to 642. what is that a real terms current expenditure. i've already explained about capital expenditure but what's happening after the olympics but gross investment real term -- well, mr. speaker, he hasn't produced one figure yet and i've just given him the figures. 63, 55, 49. and we are going to make up that by the asset sales we've already announced in the prebudget report and i have to tell him -- i have to tell him that current expenditure will continue to rise in cash and real terms. the issue is that the conservatives will be cutting current expenditure in real and cash terms in exactly what i said. tory cuts, labour investment. but what's worst, mr. speaker, is they're cutting expenditure
so that they can help the few with inheritance tax cuts. let me say he's abandoning inheritance tax cuts. >> every commentator, every economist has concluded the prime minister is wrong and looks increasingly ridiculous. just take one. the institute fiscal studies, the director of the fiscal studies said last week, judging his performance on prime minister questions, gordon brown needs some help to figure out his own chancellor budget. let me take his minister. she said this as the budget made clear the only way to clear a huge debt overhuge in the medium term will be to cut pounds for spending. why does he find it difficult to give a straight answer and be
straight with the british people? >> mr. speaker, i'm giving the house the figure. he has given not one figure to back up his proposition. the only figure -- the only figure we have had is the admission by the shadow health secretary that he would cut public expenditure in vital departments by 10% and what we will not be doing is cutting expenditure by 10%. let me tell you what the real terms rise in current expenditure is. and at some point maybe the leader of the opposition will listen action 60 theto 629, to 633 to 638 to 642. these are rises in expenditure after inflation has been taken into account. once again, he's trying to hide the fact that he has got 10% cuts. he is the party of cuts. we are the party of investment. and because he wants to use the cuts to pay for inheritance cuts. let's remember they are the
party of few and we are the party of many. >> he is just sinking and sinking. he thinks everyone will be so stupid that once you take out debt interest and once you take out unemployment benefit the departments of all those people will be cut, cut, cut. that is the truth. why doesn't the prime minister just stand back for a moment and ask why he is so distrusted? it's not actually the recession. there's a recession all over europe and yet no other leader -- >> order. order. order. order. order. order.
>> reason he's in the hole that he's in is because he is not -- it's because he isn't straight with people. >> order. who wants the leader of the opposition to be heard? order, order. i would like the right honorable to speak. order. i don't want a minister pushing his luck now behave yourself. the right honorable gentleman. >> thank you, mr. speaker. they shot him on wednesday and spend the rest of the week trying to get rid of him. the reason his problem he wasn't straight with people. he wasn't straight over the council of the people over the 10p tax or flying to iraq in the tory conference or over damien
mcabroad. he wasn't straight as he wants with his chancellor and now he won't be straight with people about the level of government spending. won't everyone conclude that if you cannot be straight with people you are simply not worthy to be our prime minister? >> order. order. order. order. order. order. i know though this is my last day the leader of the opposition, the term used is not something that -- and i think all these meetings they see they don't approve either. >> a european recession that he now admits as far as -- as far as his last comments are concerned, is it not remarkable he descends back into
personalities. he cannot deal -- he cannot deal -- he cannot deal with a policy debate. i have said that we are taking action to deal with the recession and that means that more people will be in work. that means more businesses will be saved and that means that more help will be given to mortgage holders. he would cut the money now. there would be more unemployment, more debt and more deficits. and the conservative party have got to face up to their responsibility that they are calling for public spending cuts at the time when every country in europe and in the rest of the world knows you've got to inject more money into the economy. as for the future, everybody also knows and i think this is where the serious debate lies, that what can happen depends on growth and what happens to inflation and what happens to employment and what happens to interest rates and there is good evidence that the proposals that we have put forward are working whereas the proposals they put forward would not work. as for the put of public
expenditure let's be clear. there's not cash rises but also real term rises he has given us no figure except the figure of his health secretary which is a 10% cut in public expenditure. the public will remember one thing about the last week. 10% cuts in public expenditure under the tories. investment under labour. they are the party of the few. we are the party of the many. >> mr. speaker, of mr. speaker, why doesn't the prime minister understand that character and policy come together in this vital question of answering and telling the truth that public spending will be cut according to his own plans. isn't what everyone will have seen today is the prime minister has drawn one of his precious dividing lines between himself and reality. that is what we've seen. people know they've got a prime minister they never elected.
they got a prime minister who can never be straight with people and a prime minister who won't even give 10% of the truth. >> mr. speaker, the leader of the conservative party, we've made it clear that a conservative government would spend less than labour. it's clear that the conservatives would be spending less at every time and cutting spending at vital services and people should not forget it and, of course, every time he wants to read out quotes from this person and that person why doesn't he face up to the policy issue. we're spending 5.5 more on the health service and 4% more on education. we're building more schools. we're employing more nurses. we're building up the health service. we're making the policing in our communities work. at every moment the conservative party would be cutting their vital services and they should go back how many police, how many nurses how many doctors how many teachers they would cut for policies that in the interest of not in the many but only in the case of the interest of the few.
>> order. order. i'm going to call you but you will be brief, won't you? mr. mcgrady. >> thank you, mr. speaker. i'd be brief in saying thank you for your personal on your party in the chair and outside this chamber. could i ask my right honorable friend the prime minister who is aware of the fact devolution to northern ireland has not been completed in the absence of policing the justice. this is a political football between two parties. exacerbated by the recent european election. would he take a personal initiative to complete all that important devolution which is the prerogative of the whole community of northern ireland? >> yes, mr. speaker. i think the benefits to northern ireland of the devolution of policing and justice will be very considerable indeed. i realize that there are very delegate issues that have got to be dealt with and i realize
there are conversations to be had. but i do recognize that progress has been made with the commitment of the major parties to devolution and talks that take place that now will yield results and it will not be long before we complete the devolution of policing and justice under terms that will give security to every community in northern ireland. >> mr. speaker, mr. speaker, does the prime minister agree with the comments from his chancellor this morning when he blamed the bank's board rooms for the recession but refused to fundamentally change the way we regulate them? >> mr. speaker, we are changing fundamentally the way we regulate our banks. we are -- we are banning them from bonuses at the moment in areas where we've taken over these banks. we are changing the structures of the boards by the way by dealing with the problems by this recession and we are creating new financial regulation to change the structure. in every area where an abuse has been found we are taking action
to deal with that and i hope when the legislation comes before the house of commons he will support it because it's the right thing to do. when people make mistakes we have got to deal with it and we're deal with the mistakes that were made in the city. >> i think he's still trying to have it both ways. he can't just blame the bankers. he can't just blame the bankers and then not change the basic way we control them. he's just passing the buck. i'll tell him who's responsible to who's to blame. a government who didn't pay attention and to separate ordinary high street banking from casino investment banking. can't he see if he just keeps passing the buck the only certainty is that this kind of crisis will happen all over again. >> mr. speaker, he's speaking as if high street banks didn't fail or investment banks didn't fail. both failed. both failed. the truth is that both failed and we've got to deal with that.
so the solution is to have better supervision. and it's a close supervision on a global level as well and bringing those companies that have been outside the scope of supervision and regulation. that is what the g20 was about. bringing all the regulatory and supervisory net. i think he supports what we're doing but can't bear to say it. >> mr. speaker, is my right honorable friend -- is my right honorable friend aware that despite -- despite all the promises the lloyd's group of banks is planning to decimate jobs in yorkshire and take them down south. could he talk to management of the lloyds group urgently and point out that we are major shareholders in that bank and expect better standards than this? >> well, i'm very happy to talk about lloyds and we'll look at that in the context.
any jobs to be lost is to be regretted and we'll do everything we can. >> the prime minister will have satisfied virtually nobody with his private inquiry into the war in iraq. he does, however, have the opportunity to satisfy one family. mr. al-sarad is detained in baghdad. he is a husband of a constituent of mine. would the prime minister talk to the u.s. authorities to try to secure a release date for him. >> you've raised this case with me. i will look at what he says and i shall write to him. >> would the prime minister take the opportunity to condemn the appalling racist attacks on romanian families in belfast? >> yes, indeed. and i hope that the authorities are able to take all the action is necessary to protect them. >> can the prime minister confirm that the department of transport has been comparing dossiers on the opponents of the third runway at heathrow and has
been handing over to the police and can he find out there's one on me and one from his right honorable friend? >> mr. speaker, i know nothing about this. any allegation he makes will, of course, be investigated. but this is not something that has been drawn to my attention. as far as the heathrow expansion is concerned, it is arm contentious issue but the house has voted on the matter. >> mr. speaker, my right honorable friend will know the police constablery is the best force. burglaries are a 27-year low. the number of police officers, special constables and staff have increased by 1400. that's 30% since 1997. can my right honorable friend tell me what impact on staff, on
crime, a 10% cut we will have. >> mr. speaker, it could involve about 15,000 police being lost and i think those people who advocate 10% cut in the home office are going to face to the consequences it will mean less policemen on the beat. it will be less neighborhood policing and i notice members opposite are not worried about a 10% cut in police. i think they'll hear from their constituents if that happens. >> has the prime minister have any level of concern about the expressed intention of the chief constables to enact the police reserve in northern ireland? does he recognize there's a heightened level of distent activity and the chief constable is leaving his job. >> yeah, mr. speaker, we have committed, i think, you will recognize additional resources to dealing with the problems of the dissident groups in northern
ireland and i spoke to the chief of police. and we promised him the resources would be there to deal with the problems that were arising from the actions of the dissident groups and i assure him none of the people will be put in risk in any way. >> thank you, mr. speaker. may i thank you for your kindness over the years and wish you well. age-related games and alcohol were all bought recently without any checks by a 16-year-old acting for greenwich trading trading standards, even though his card was registered with his real date of birth and address. will my right honorable friend look to extend the provisions in the gambling act that restrict and have simple checks on age so that our young people do not get easy access to knives and other age-restricted goods in accordaced with the recommendations of the children's charities digital manifesto on internet safety. >> i know about the document
that she's referring to and she may know yesterday we published a digital britain document and that set out the state steps that the government is taking the online safety of children and the ways in which the government will continue to assert further action from the industry against these practices. at the u council by internet safety has been looking at this and she should know it's looking at these issues. >> the scotland parliament wants less power together with a referendum. does the prime minister grow that the people should have their say? >> i'm sorry, the snp are not supporting the common recommendations. the common recommendations give a new basis on which the union can move forward. it gives a measure of devolution to allow the union to be safeguarded for the future. the difference between us and the scottish natural party they want all independent. all evidence is the people of scotland don't.
>> can i thank you personally for your kindness. on policy, can i say to my right honorable friend that my constituents are nervously awaiting the outcome of the learning and skills council review of the building colleges for the put and our policy we need that money. will hebg give some reassurance that when the review takes place, our government will make an imminent decision and that he will take account of our commitment to urban regeneratioñ and also to the university quarter and urge that the full amounts can be there for their side. >> in the budget announced we announced an extra 300 million of capital fending of further education colleges to meet some of the demand that has arisen from the number of colleges who wish to expand and wish to build new facilities on their campuses. we're looking at the -- all the projects. the lse has talked to the principals of all the colleges this month. we're hopeful of announcing these projects that will go through to the next stage as
soon as possible. >> thank you, mr. speaker. could the prime minister tell the house if the government received any formal briefings from damian mcbride? >> i have not. >> i'd like to ask the prime minister about a modest constitutional innovation. will he invite the house of commons to amend its standing orders to allow senior ministers who are in the house of lourdes to come to this dispatch box and defend their stewardship and their departments and to pilot through legislation in which they're the principal ark can i tell him even the most senior/junior minister will be doing it it will be nothing more than a superior parrot unless we have this change. >> mr. speaker, we have a strong team of ministers in the house of commons perfectly able to
answer questions and carry out debates in the house of commons. if he has proposals perhaps he can put them forth the committee for the membership. >> this week is national elder abuse week and according to the own former's figures 5,980 older people are the victims of elder abuse in this country. will the prime minister look at the need for legislation that has been argued now in a government consultation where the overwhelming majority of organizations said it was necessary not at least when 5,900 people every week go unprotected, unreported and those who admit the assaults go unpunished >> any abuse of the elderly is completely unacceptable. i hope the criminal law will protect them. i hope the regulatory framework will work and give them the protection as necessary. we will keep that framework under review which is noting the amount of abuse of the elderly.
i think it's right to say that no citizen should be engaged in anything that puts the dignity and security of elderly people in our country at risk. >> thank you, mr. speaker. i heard a phrase recently, mr. speaker, that i wondered if my right honorable friend might explain. it's a phrase -- it's a phrase which says, play the ball and not the man as ex-ex rugby player you can explain what it means and to the prime minister's questions. >> it means for the few occasions over on the last year have they been able to raise questions about policy. we welcome about debate in this country and it will be held over the next few months. we will show that we will safeguard, the health, and public services of this country against 10% cuts by the conservative party. >> will the prime minister join me in commanding the work of the chernobyl children's charities